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Main Curriculum Tie:
Background For Teachers:
To evaluate the health and productivity of a stream, biologists look at the types of macroinvertebrate species who live there. Different species have different tolerance levels to pollution. If many pollution-intolerant organisms, such as stonefly or caddisfly nymphs, are present, the water quality is probably good. Although the presence of certain species indicates good water quality, the absence of these species does not necessarily indicate bad water quality. Other factors besides pollution may account for their absence.
Sensitive or Intolerant Species:
Somewhat Tolerant Species:
For older students, have them do research at the library or on the internet on different pollutants and
macroinvertebrates to help them determine the water quality of their sample. They can also research
what other factors might lead to no pollution in the water.
* This activity is adapted from Activity S-2: Use Your Head, Protect Your Watershed! By Dr. Kitt Farrell – Poe, with information also taken from the Utah Stream Team Manual by USU Extension.
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